Why We Don’t Care about the Environment

Student OpinionWe have heard it 1000 times. “Reduce, reuse, recycle; help decrease our carbon footprint!” Over the years, these slogans have undergone semantic satiation (the phenomenon when you repeat a word so many times that it begins to lose its meaning). Environmental advocacy is a business. And it is time to adopt some new marketing strategies.

In 2010, an oilrig owned by the gas company British-Petroleum (BP) exploded, leaking millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. People were outraged at BP’s irresponsibility when images of baby ducks and sea lions covered in oil appeared on television and the Internet. Later that day, these same people would drive their car half a mile to pick up groceries in plastic disposable bags.

The biggest roadblock on the path to fixing the environment is apathy. “People are often reluctant to help out because the results of their contribution aren’t easy to see early on, but their contributions do make a difference,” said Senior Stephen Meyer, President of the Wilde Lake Environmental Club

Because we do not see the direct impact of recycling, walking instead of driving, and reducing our water use, it can be difficult to grasp the huge difference that these actions ultimately make. Global warming is an invisible threat and, unfortunately, the positive changes we make often go unnoticed.

According to the National Recycling Coalition, recycling one aluminum soda saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours. That means if every student in the average Wilde Lake English class were to recycle one soda can each, these students would be able to watch a movie in that class every day for 120 days.

There are numerous ways to get involved with the green movement in our community. For example, students in the Wilde Lake Environmental Club have been working vigorously on the Rain Garden and our school’s recycling program. Seniors Tommy Mee and Galen Shi are currently in the process of certifying Wilde Lake as a Maryland Green School. But helping the environment does not require starting a club or major project. Making even the smallest changes can help in combating apathy.